Editor's note: January is Vegetable Month on Serious Eats: New York! Every day this month we'll introduce you to a different vegetable dish we love. Do you have a veg dish to nominate? Let us know!
I'm a lover of kale whatever the preparation, but the kale salad ($7) at Chuko in Prospect Heights is truly remarkable. Small pieces of kale take on two forms, some left raw and softly crunchy, some tempura-fried (and, well, crisply crunchy), the batter clinging to their every crag and cranny. They're dressed in a faintly sweet white miso vinaigrette that gently soaks in; pickled golden raisins join the greens, and strands of crisped-up Japanese sweet potato curl on top.
What's amazing about this salad is that you don't know which is better: the crisp fried bits, making you wonder why you don't eat more tempura greens; or the raw bits, where the kale's vivid flavor comes through more powerfully. The answer, of course, is both.
552 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11238 (at Dean Street, map) 718 576-6701